Posts tagged “bisexual

Even in Failed “Worldwide LGBT Equality March,” a Grassroots Effort Finds Seeds of Success

The LGBT community would be nothing were it not for the many and varied grassroots efforts which have sprung up throughout our history, spurring us forward in the name of equality.  While our national organizations may serve a purpose in terms of presence and lobbying, in my view, most of the monumental changes have occurred as the result of groups outside the mainstream.  Whether it be Lt. Dan Choi and GetEqual helping to bring about an end to DADT, or ACT-UP in demanding resources and awareness during the AIDS epidemic, or the small but laser-like focus of the American Foundation for Equal Rights in working to bring marriage equality to California, these smaller groups have often been able to affect change where our national organizations can’t–or won’t.

I came of age during the days of Queer Nation and ACT-UP, and every rally, march, or benefit I’ve attended or organized has helped instill in me the belief that power, indeed, lies with the people.  Last  year’s Occupy movement further reinforced that conviction: on a local level, a band of committed individuals can move mountains.

Washington, D.C., April 21st, 2012

In February, I wrote about a planned “2012 Worldwide LGBT Civil Rights March”, slated for April 21.   The idea for the march had sprung from a facebook group called Let’s Reach 1 Million People Campaign, and the group’s founder and lead organizer, Joseph C. Knudson, asked if I would write an article about their efforts.  I agreed, but as I began to look more closely at the event, I realized that I couldn’t deliver the promotional piece they’d desired.  The article, What if They Threw a Worldwide LGBT Equality March, and No One Came?, noted my concerns around the planning associated with the effort, and questioned if the event was truly designed for success.

The article prompted a firestorm of protest in the comment sections on both Huffington Post and Bilerico Project, primarily from those organizing the event, and included accusations of inaccuracies, questions about my motives, personal attacks, and even resulted in a rant about me on Knudson’s blog.  And yet, despite each of their energetic volleys, the questions I raised were never fully answered by the event organizers.

Instead, I and others with questions were simply urged to read the group’s disclosure document, as if the answers to each of our varied questions could be found in that single document.  While some have speculated that this event was simply a promotional effort, designed to draw attention to a book Knudson had written, it was assured time and again that the Worldwide LGBT Equality March had no connection to his personal endeavors.  But where, you might ask, is the group’s disclosure document located? Not on their website, as one would expect.  Instead, a link redirects you to Knudson’s own site, where the document is posted beneath links to his book trailer, author page, and book press release.  A minor point, perhaps, but hardly the kind of thing which eases concerns about either his motivation or the separation between the two endeavors.

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Disqualified from High School Contest, Gay Teen Speaks Out

Kearian Giertz is the gay Fullerton, California, 17-year-old who made national news headlines last week, following his disqualification from a school contest for his statement supportive of marriage equality. During an annual rite of passage at his high school, known as the Mr. Fullerton Contest, Kearian was asked, in front of an audience, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?,” and expressed his desire to find his life mate and be legally wed, only to find himself disqualified by a school administrator, who had his microphone cut off.  Upon hearing his story, several elements stood out to me as intriguing.  First, compared to my own angst-ridden life in high school almost 25 years ago, it was refreshing that this young man felt comfortable enough to proclaim his desire to wed another man.  Second, I was impressed by how quickly the high school responded to his disqualification, firmly supporting Giertz’ right to free speech and calling the administrator’s actions inappropriate.  Lastly, I was struck by how, upon being disqualified, instead of reacting with the expected anger and hostility,  the teen and his friends chose a more peaceful option, turning this disqualification into a teachable moment.

Having recently written my own letter to my high school bully, I was curious as to how today’s youth were coping with harassment on campus, as well as in their daily lives, and sat down with Giertz, fellow out-teen Blake Danford, and heterosexual, LGBT-supportive Katy Hall, all friends since 7th grade and now Fullerton Union High School seniors, to discuss what it is like to be out and gay in school, as well as the event which propelled them into the headlines.

Kergan Edwards-Stout:   First, let’s start with you, Blake.  When did you first realize you were gay?

Blake Danford:  I first realized I wasn’t really attracted to girls around 4th grade, but came out as gay in 8th grade to a girl in my English class, who was a lesbian.  Eventually, I told a few others, about 5 people total, but it wasn’t until my freshman year I began telling even more people.

Edwards-Stout: At what point did you tell your family?

Danford:  I came out to my mom in my sophomore year.

Edwards-Stout:  And she’s been supportive?

Danford:  Definitely.  I think it was actually harder for me, as I was expecting her not to be.  It was almost like, “Wait, are you really okay with this?” Her support almost seemed fake to me. My parents divorced when I was three, so I’m still not completely out to my dad’s side of the family, as we don’t see them.  Anything out of the norm is not okay with them.  I’ve had them tell me, directly, that if I ever “became” gay, they’d kill me on the spot.  And I assumed that was how everyone would be, so my mom’s support really threw me.  But I’m really glad her support was genuine.

Edwards-Stout:  Kearian, what about you? Did you always know you were gay?

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Imagine the World Without…

As I wrote previously, this world would look vastly different were it not for the countless varied contributions of LGBT folks.  Help me educate and change hearts and minds by following me on Twitter.com/edwards-stout and retweeting my #rethinkgay #imagineworldwithout tweets.

Together, we can make the world a better placeImagine the world without the Sistine Chapel… Michelangelo = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without the art of Francis Bacon… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the 80’s without the song TAINTED LOVE… Soft Cell lead Marc Almond = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without the film GIANT… Writer Edna Ferber and star Rock Hudson = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the roaring 20’s without Josephine Baker and her banana dress… Bi. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without the MONA LISA…  DaVinci = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the cabaret world without the singing and style of Bobby Short… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine Olympic diving without Greg Louganis @greglouganis or Matthew Mitcham @matthew_mitcham … Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without the poetry of Lord Byron… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without NIGHT AND DAY… Cole Porter = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine Robert Schuler without the Crystal Cathedral… Architect Philip Johnson = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. James Dean and Sal Mineo reportedly were gay… #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine tennis without legends Billie Jean King or Martina Navratilova… Lesbian.#rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without civil rights leader Bayard Rustin… Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without “West Side Story”-Entire creative team was gay! #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine SILENCE OF THE LAMBS without Jodie Foster… Lesbian.  #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the world without AMADEUS… Lead Tom Hulce = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Imagine the holidays without THE NUTCRACKER SUITE… Composer Tchaikovsky = Gay. #rethinkgay #imaginetheworldwithout

Follow me on Twitter and help educate and inspire!!